Second graders hover between adorable and volatile. On one hand, they're easy to please, but on the other, this is the age where you begin to see a certain rowdiness from a certain gender of second graders. I've had classes full of gentle, respectful second graders and then classes full of little pistols. The latter group is certainly the challenge, but as you can all attest to, taming a willful child with art is the best feeling there is.
So here are my favorite lessons to inspire the angels and intrigue the rest...
As always, you'll find a list of basic supplies and an optional list of supplies in the left sidebar (scroll down).
By now, you know how I like to begin the year, but with second graders, I like to jazz it up a bit. My Connected Flower Line Drawing may seem dainty for the boys in the room, but believe me, they like it. Practice a bit yourself so you can teach the kids some cool ways to draw flowers. If someone refuses to draw flowers (and yes, there will be a few) have them draw wacky shapes. Triangles with circles attached or squares with triangles inside. Whatever it takes to get pen down on paper.
Time: Two 45-50 minute classes
Supplies: 12" x 18" White drawing paper, Crayola broad tip markers in a variety of colors, black marker
After two classes of coloring flowers, the kids will be ready to paint. Because it's Autumn, scarecrows tend to be a favorite subject of mine. My Color Wheel Scarecrows teach drawing, painting and color mixing skills plus it looks fantastic displayed on the walls. You'll notice a huge disparity in the amount of time it takes for the children to paint, so keep up the pace by encouraging the kids to add water to their brushes, not to worry about going outside the lines and by offering tons of praise (especially when they go outside the line, i.e "What expressive lines!"You get the idea.)
Instead of scarecrows, here is another lesson that uses the very same technique:
Time: 2 45-50 minute classes
Supplies: 12" x 18" white drawing paper, black oil pastel, dime sized dab of red/yellow/blue paint on a paper plate for each student, brushes and water containers.
Just like first grade, now is the time to get messy and break out the paints for an Eric Carle inspired art project. I like doing this project early in the year so you'll have lots of left-over painted paper for other projects later on. My favorite subject for second grade are Seahorses and Mermaids. The book Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle is the perfect accompaniment for this art lesson so if you can borrow it form the library, please do.
Take a look at my Eric Carle Inspired Art Lessons PDF which features the Seahorse lesson plan plus templates for more Eric Carle inspired lessons (including mermaid templates).
Another option: Eric Carle Inspired Barns and Farms
Moving onto another medium, Torn Paper Owls is a fun, calming lesson for those rainy October days. Because this lesson involves much tearing and because some kids have stronger fingers than others, it might be helpful to pre-tear a bunch of paper while watching Lost the night before. But be careful, don't tear all the pieces. It's really an important part of the lesson (judging whether a piece is too large or too small, not worrying if a piece doesn't fit, etc.)
You can vary this lesson up a bit as well. You might want to paint the background with a cool night scene (if that's the case, you don't need blue paper). When I do this lesson again, that's what I'm going to do. Same sequence of steps, but just before gluing the pieces of paper, paint the background with tempera paint.
Time: 3 45-50 minute classes
Supplies: 12" x 18" blue construction paper, scraps of browns, whites, grays and black paper for the owl, bits of green, orange or yellow paper for the eyes and beak, glue sticks and scissors, black, yellow and white oil pastel for drawing the outline.
This next project is a perpetual crowd pleaser. Girls love it, boys love it (especially if you describe the project appropriately!) Glitter Fish is a dynamic lesson that involves drawing, painting and fun. A great combo. The trick is to make the kids believe that they can draw this fish so that means, you need to practice. My strategy with demonstrating the drawing here is to be lose and fun. Draw a normal body with a huge fin that curls and swirls, or a large mouth with gigantic teeth or a tail that spits fire. Just engage the kids...no serious, perfect fish here.
If you don't have glitter paint, don't worry. If you don't have Mod Podge and Liquid watercolors, don't worry (but I STRONGLY recommend that you add these two products to your supply list).
Instead, use normal watercolor paints and add the sprinkle type glitter later with glue.
Time: 2 45-50 minute classes (a bit more if you do this)
Supplies: 12" x 18" white paper, black oil pastel, liquid watercolor, Mod Podge, glitter paint, scissors and glue.
So there you have it. A bit more supplies needed, but I guarantee that the kids will LOVE these projects.
Tomorrow, third grade!